To Be In His Presence

I am writing about a song that we sing in church quite a bit and every time I pray I think about it and find it quite moving.  It goes like this…

To be in Your presence.

To sit at Your feet.

When Your love surrounds me

And makes me complete.


Chorus: This is my desire, O Lord.

This is my desire.

This is my desire, O Lord.

This is my desire.


To rest in Your presence.

Not rushing away.

To cherish each moment

Here I would stay.


Chorus: This is my desire, O Lord.

This is my desire.

This is my desire, O Lord.

This is my desire.


Author: Richards, Noel

Copyright: ©1991 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music (Admin by: Kingsway’s Thankyou Music)

CCLI Number 540071

What does it mean to be in God’s presence?  One could argue that as Christians we are always in God’s presence, whether we feel it or not. So what does this song writer mean here?

I think he is talking about those special times when we close our door, get rid of all distractions, rid our mind of all the things that threaten to overtake us, and sit quietly and meditate on Jesus.

Think just of His awesomeness and His majesty and His power and His might.  Then focus on His beauty and His gentleness, His grace and His love.

Empty our minds of all the things of the world and concentrate on Jesus.  Just rest in His presence.  Allow His Holy Spirit to flow through you, bringing with it rest and restoration and healing.

What does it mean to “sit at His feet?”

Every time we sing these words I’m reminded of Mary Magdalene, sitting at the feet of Jesus, putting an alabaster jar of perfume on His body and feet, and weeping silent tears and wiping her tears on his feet with her hair.  What a wonderful picture of Jesus and His love and Grace.

This makes me weep too and I can visualize my tears dropping on Jesus’ feet as I sit close to Him. I long for that closeness and intimacy with Jesus in prayer. Unfortunately I can’t dry my tears with my hair!

The more we spend time with Jesus, the more we get to know Him, and to love Him, and to listen to His voice, and to share with Him our own pain, knowing He too suffered physical and psychological pain.

“Where Your love surrounds us”

It can be very hard to get to that place where we feel God’s love surrounding us.  We may not feel it at all, but still try to spend time in His presence just concentrating on Him.  Sometime we just have to believe God’s promises that He will not leave us or forsake us. And that He will not take the Holy Spirit from us.

“And makes me complete.”

We are only complete and whole people in Jesus with His Holy Spirit. I’m reminded of the end of another song, “I’m made complete in Him.”  The dictionary describes completeness as “having all the necessary parts.”  Do we have all the necessary parts in our relationship with Jesus?

“This is my desire, O Lord. This is my desire.”

My greatest desire as a Christian is to be more like Jesus. It is my one ambition and I know it can take a lifetime.

“To rest in Your Presence.”, is slightly different from to be in your presence.

The  dictionary describes rest as “Peace, ease, or refreshment, the act or state of ceasing from work, activity, or motion.”

Resting on Jesus, therefore, gives us times of refreshment and peace even if we don’t feel peaceful. I have to say here, that if we are in a bad place emotionally, the last thing we want to do is to pray, but if we practice resting on Jesus, we don’t even need to pray.  We can be encompassed, surrounded and upheld in the arms of Jesus.

“Not rushing away”.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism was heard to say, “I am so busy that I only four hours to pray”.  Well, that would be good, but a bit impractical in these days.  However we are tempted to rush away.  We are tempted to give our shopping list and not spend time listening to God’s voice.  I know how difficult this is for people with small children to get even five minutes to yourself.  But if we practice the art of listening to God, we can hear Him anywhere.

But we are inclined to fit God in between times of business and to rush away and not hear what He so desperately wants us to hear.  More than anything He wants intimacy with us.

“To cherish each moment”

Sometimes we find it so hard to rest in God but we can cherish each moment.  All our lives can be made up of moments with Jesus that we cherish.  If we marry we vow to love and cherish until death do us part.  To cherish our time with Jesus is equally important.

The last line is difficult as is expresses “here I would stay”

We won’t experience that until we get to heaven and are able to sit at His feet for eternity.

No matter how much we want to stay at the feet of Jesus, there is a big world out there.  There are people who are lonely, depressed, suicidal, there are alcoholics and drug addicts, and prostitutes, there are homeless people living on the streets with no one to care for them, there are people dying from cancer and aids.  There are people affected effected by floods and earthquakes, who have lost everything.  There are pour neighbours in distress, or our friends going through difficult times.  We have to leave the feet of Jesus and do our utmost to put our Christianity into practice in whatever way we can.

This song really challenges me to spend quality time with Jesus, but not to be “so heavenly minded that I’m no earthly use”.

By Joan Kilroy.  All rights reserved.

(The above piece was written by Joan for and as apart of ECF’s Creative Writing Group and is published here with her permission and our thanks.)